May Newsletter

Webinar: Defining Future Spaces

Photo of Bruno Canadien's artwork "Great Lakes" at the top. The artwork has the Great Lakes in blue on a red background scattered with white and yellow stars to represent ancient Indigenous occupation of the land. Directly below the artwork reads "Thursday, May 13 4:30–6 PM EST, hosted via Zoom." Below reads: "Defining Space: Collective Uses and Access for Future Spaces,".

Event Image: Bruno Canadien

Spots are still available for the CreateSpace virtual event taking place tomorrow from 4:30 to 6pm EDT! Join Ontario-based creatives Zongwe Binesikwe Crystal Hardy, Alica Hall and Bruce Naokwegijig in a panel discussion on alternative forms of public space for art and the role of virtual spaces during and after COVID-19. The panelists will also discuss accessibility, public engagement, and the potential for future spaces and who they will serve.

This event is hosted with ArtsBuild Ontario via Zoom (closed captioning and ASL interpretation are available upon request). You can also tune in via Facebook Live at any time during the event to interact with us on social and submit questions for the Q&A session.

From Weeds We Grow: Basket-Making Workshop

Black and white photo of birch bark basket at the top right, surrounded by a mustard yellow background. Reads "Myseum: Intersections" in black text at the top left, and "From Weeds We Grow" in white text at the bottom right. Myseum logo seen at the very top left.

Event Image: Myseum of Toronto

From Weeds We Grow is an interdisciplinary public art project that intertwines artistic, Indigenous and community-based approaches inspired by the history of Toronto’s Rexdale community and the Humber River. As part of the 2021 Myseum Intersections Festival, join lead artist Lindsey Lickers in a free birch bark basket-making workshop titled: Honouring Our Connections – Creating a Caring Vessel on June 19, 2021 from 1 to 3pm EDT via Zoom.

Visit the event page for more details on how to secure a free workshop material kit, and tune into @stepspublicart on May 21st for an Instagram Takeover by Lindsey to learn more about the From Weeds We Grow journey and her artistic practice.

Congratulations Yue Moon: Animated Light!

Snapshot of Toronto's Chinatown on a cold winter night. The CN Tower is lit up with rainbow colours faintly visible in the background. The Animated Light stop-motion feature, seen on the left on the side of Chinese Gospel Church, lights up the streets with bright and vivid shades of red for Lunar New Year.

Artist: Winnie Truong
Photo Credit: Selina McCallum

Yue Moon: Animated Light, led by artist Winnie Truong, and STEPS were recognized at this year’s Toronto Friends of the Visual Arts (TFVA) Tribute Awards. The TFVA awards celebrate the achievements of artists and projects that support the role of art in the GTA, especially during these challenging times. Check out our acceptance speech by STEPS Program Director Bebhinn Jennings during TFVA’s virtual tribute night!

Animated Light was a collaborative art-making project that led to a large outdoor projection installation in the heart of Toronto’s Chinatown as part of this year’s Lunar New Year celebrations. Stay tuned for a brand new webpage dedicated to Yue Moon!

Celebrating Queer Black Lives Mural

Concept art depicting two Black females with braids and eyes closed with wispy eyelashes, and the two figures are mirroring each other. The background has symmetrical and geometric shapes with a rainbow-coloured feather or butterfly image above the females. The colour palette of the art is warm shades of pink, purple, orange, and yellow.

Celebrating Queer Black Lives is an upcoming public art mural in Toronto’s Oakwood Village (529 Oakwood Ave) by STEPS Artist Curtia Wright and commissioned by LOMA Marketing Agency with community support by Nia Centre for the Arts. This project honours queer Black lives, community connection and solidarity.

“I depicted Black femmes adorned with flowers to pay homage to the femmes who received their flowers too late, to communicate a sense of solidarity with our history. I believe it is integral when speaking of Black lives, especially queer ones, to uplift and celebrate the voices of femme Black people.”

This project is presented with RBC as part of I HeART Main Street, a program supporting 25 business improvement areas (BIAs) across Ontario to bring public art by local artists to communities all summer long!

Production is just around the corner and we’re excited to share more sneak peeks leading up to the big reveal, including a STEPS Instagram takeover on June 2nd by Curtia. Follow @stepspublicart and @curtia for the latest announcements.

Experience Light Strainers before May 31!

Videographer: Selina McCallum

If you’re taking a stroll in Toronto’s Bloor Annex neighbourhood, be sure to stop by the three parkettes to visit Light Strainers, a series of public art installations by local artists Chris Foster and Layne Hinton in collaboration with the Bloor Annex BIA. The kinetic light sculptures bring vibrancy to the neighbourhood while imagining new ways the community can safely engage with art during the pandemic. Tag us at @stepspublicart and @explorebloorannex to share your photos (and check out the awesome sizzle reel to witness the magic from home)!

New Faces at STEPS!

Headshots of STEPS new team members. From left to right, Collin Zipp (Program Manager), Vicki Cummings (Development Officer) and Charlotte Durnford-Dionne (Main Streets Associate).

As we ramp up for our summer projects, we’re thrilled to have three new staff members from Winnipeg, Vancouver and Montreal who have the diverse skill sets to make public spaces more vibrant and inclusive! Collin, Vicki, and Charlotte will be an invaluable support to the team as we continue to roll out CreateSpace programming, develop new partnerships, and activate main streets with Canadian artists! 

External Opportunities

Supporting artists and arts workers, especially those who face barriers in accessing public art opportunities, is at the core of STEPS’ mandate. Below are some of the current opportunities on our radar.

Building Community During COVID

Thanks to contributions from community members like you, STEPS supported over 65 public art initiatives and paid over $160,000 in direct payments to Canadian artists and designers in 2020 alone.

Consider making a donation to support this important work!

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